This rare and interesting name is of Ashkenazic origin although of uncertain etymology, and thought to be from the Hebrew male given name "Lapidoth", which was borne, in the Bible, by the husband of Deborah. It may be that the first element of this name derives from the Hebrew word "lapid", meaning torch. Unusually, the name is universally scarcely recorded, and not at all before the 19th Century. One Moses Lapides was baptized on December 16th 1864 in Vilna, Lithuania, while in England, Henry Adolph, son of Samuel and Elizabeth Lapidus, was christened on March 1st 1868 at St.George's, Birmingham, and Henry Lapicus married Mary Ann Steed at All Saints, Birmingham, on December 29th 1869. The name is also recorded in America, where one Maurice Lapides was baptized in Manhattan, New York, on January 4th 1917. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johann Pieter Lapidoth, which was dated November 2nd 1831, Ijsselstein, Utrecht, Netherlands, during the reign of William Frederick, King of the Netherlands, 1813 - 1840. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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